Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on December 10, 2008
In the race to win acceptance for its smart phone worldwide, Google is gaining ground on Apple. Steve Jobs and Co. still don’t have the iPhone in China, after talks with the country’s largest cellular operator, China Mobile, stalled. (See this BusinessWeek story I wrote back in January.) While there are rumors Apple might break through next year, Google is making concrete gains. The company has just gained an important new Chinese partner, Huawei Technologies, the biggest Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer, which late this afternoon announced it will be coming out with smart phones using the Android operating system backed by the search giant.
Huawei, with over $13 billion in sales last year, has been branching out from its traditional strength in networking equipment, making cellular handsets for companies like Vodafone. Teaming up with Google on the Android fits with the company’s goal of beefing up its credibility as a top-tier global player. “Currently, we’re developing smart phones on the Android platform, which we plan to launch in 2009,” Li Jilin, Huawei Communication’s vice president said in a press statement. “We believe that the Android platform will transform the mobile life experience for users around the world. Huawei is dedicated to playing an important role in this transformation.”